Police warned over threat to go on strike
Police services could be severely affected should officers embark on a three-hour protest and ignore pleas from communities for help on Monday morning.
The ministry of police reacted with a stern warning to officers who intend to engage in "anti-police conduct and cause disruption of police services".
Officers are said to be complaining about the perceived silence of the national police commissioner when they are murdered and the alleged harsh treatment meted out by the Independent Police Investigation Directorate (IPID).
According to an officer who was exposed to an e-mail that has been circulating among the police, they are angry that national Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega is neglecting to offer moral support to colleagues of officers who were killed on duty.
"They are complaining that the only time she was seen as supporting officers was during the funeral of an officer who was killed at Marikana," said a police source.
The officers also accuse Phiyega of failing to show support to members of the Cato Manor unit who were arrested after being accused of being a hit squad.
The state has charged more than 20 unit members of murder, theft and defeating the ends of justice.
The campaign to mobilise officers nationally stems from KwaZulu-Natal where several officers have been killed.
But KwaZulu-Natal police have rubbished reports that police officers are going on a three-hour strike on Monday .
"It's not true that there is a strike planned for Monday or any time. Police cannot go on strike because they are guided by the Constitution and the law as essential services," KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman Colonel Vincent Mdunge said yesterday.
Apparently there were calls to strike circulated on BBM after a police officer was charged on the spot for killing a robber who had shot dead his colleague minutes earlier in Durban at the weekend.
Detective-Constable Ajith Krishanlal was killed during an armed robbery at a fast food outlet last Friday night.
His colleague, Constable Jerome Mngoma, was shot four times during the same incident. Police retaliated, killing one of the suspects during the robbery, and IPID investigators are said to have opened a murder docket immediately after a suspect was killed, leaving other officers incensed.
Police ministry spokesman Zweli Mnisi told Sowetan yesterday that there was concern about the planned action which he said was illegal.
"Any police officer who will take part in that illegal activity will be undermining the Constitution."
Police unions were yesterday cautious about the members' intention to strike.
The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union's spokeswoman Theto Mahlakoana said although the union would not encourage members to be part of an illegal action, "every individual in South Africa can take a decision about what action they can take to improve their wellbeing and conditions".
"If members decide on their own to take action about things they are unhappy about there is nothing the union can do," she said.
"We do not endorse their action because it is illegal, but they have a right as individuals to do whatever they feel will help to change their conditions."
The SA Policing Union's general secretary, Oscar Skommere, said his union had sent officials to "go and find out" what officers grievances were.
"We have not been fully briefed about what prompted this," said Skommere.
"We know there are police killings and we have raised issues with the commissioner about the need to improve police training. We believe that there is a better way to resolve their grievances rather than taking an illegal route."